ZOOM and doom combine in Exploring And Creating Gothic Fiction, a Halloween masterclass with Dr Kevin Corstorphine, run by the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, on October 31 at 11.30am.
“This two-hour online session for adults will introduce participants to some of the main ways of thinking about horror in fiction and film, including sections on cutting-edge research in the field,” says the University of Hull lecturer in American Studies.
“It will also be an inclusive discussion, with all views welcome, as well as a chance to talk about your favourite examples of the spooky and macabre. Creative writers will find useful tips to get the most out of the genre in their writing.”
Dr Corstorphine, who has lectured in English at the University of Hull’s Scarborough campus too, teaches undergraduate modules including American Gothic and has supervised several PhDs on the subject.
He is a researcher in horror, gothic, and “weird” fiction and has published widely in the field, latterly editing the 2018 Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature.
To book for this £10 masterclass, go to: https://www.sjt.uk.com/event/1105/exploring_and_creating_gothic_fiction
The SJT recommends: “It will help if you can find somewhere in your home with a good internet connection, and if you have some, use headphones, ideally with a built-in microphone, as this will help reduce feedback during the session.”
WE may be beset by tiers before bedtime, but the arts world will not lie down meekly in the face of the pandemic’s second wave. Instead, Charles Hutchinson highlights events on-going, on the horizon and online.
The rule of six, over and out: Robin Ince and Laura Lexx, Your Place Comedy, live-streaming on Sunday, 8pm
YOUR Place Comedy, the virtual comedy club launched in lockdown by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones and ten independent Yorkshire and Humber arts venues, concludes with its sixth line-up this weekend.
The last laugh will go to The Infinite Monkey Cage co-host Robin Ince and Jurgen Klopp’s number one fan, Laura Lexx, introduced by remotely by regular host Tim FitzHigham, alias Pittancer of Selby, as they perform from their living rooms into yours. The show is free to watch on YouTube and Twitch via yourplacecomedy.co.uk, with donations welcome afterwards.
Online literary event of the week: Matt Haig, The Midnight Library, Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, streaming from 8am tomorrow (October 23)
MATT Haig, the award-winning author with the York past, discusses his latest novel, The Midnight Library, a tale of regret, hope and forgiveness set in the strangest of libraries, one that houses second chances.
Exhibition of the week and beyond: Human Nature, York Mediale/York Museums Trust, at Madsen Galleries, York Art Gallery, until January 24 2021
THIS triptych of installations under the banner of Human Nature combines the British premiere of Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson’s sensory woodland short film Embers And The Giants with two York Mediale commissions.
London immersive art collection Marshmallow Laser Feast look at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echo the ecosystem in nature inThe Tides Within Us.
Manchester artist and animator Rachel Goodyear’s Limina combines a surrealist, Freudian and Jungian series of animations and intricate drawings, responding to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection as she offers glimpses into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.
Fired-up event of the week: Northern Girls, Pilot Theatre and Arcade, at Scarborough YMCA Car Park, for Signal Fires Festival, October 27 and 28, 7pm to 8pm
YORK company Pilot Theatre team up with new Scarborough arts makers Arcade to present Northern Girls by firelight for the nationwide Signal Fires Festival.
The one-hour performance sets free the stories of girls and women who live along the North East coastline, encouraging them to write and present tales that matter most to them in 2020.
Short pieces commissioned from Asma Elbadawi, Zoe Cooper, Maureen Lennon and Charley Miles will be complemented by York spoken-word artist Hannah Davies’s work with a group of young women from Scarborough.
Both eyes on the future festival of the week ahead: York Design Week, October 26 to November 1
SUPPORTED by York’s Guild of Media Arts, the York Design Week festival will seek to design a positive future for the city under five themes: Re-Wild, Play, Share, Make Space and Trust.
In Covid-19 2020, the festival will combine in-person events with social-distancing measures in place, and a wide range of online workshops, exhibition seminars and talks.
Look out for workshops bringing together homeless people and architects to work on solutions for housing; sessions on innovation and rule-breaking; an exhibition inspired by a York printing firm; discussions on community art and planning and city trails designed by individual York citizens. Go to yorkdesignweek.com for full details.
Barrie’s back: An Evening With Barrie Rutter, The Holbeck, Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, Leeds, November 7, 7.15pm
BARRIE Rutter OBE is to return to the stage for the first time since his successful treatment for throat cancer.
The Hull-born titan of northern theatre, now 73, will perform his one-man show at The Holbeck, home to the Slung Low theatre company in Leeds. The Saturday night of tall tales and anecdotes, poetry and prose will be a fundraiser for the installation of a new lift at the south Leeds community base, the oldest social club in the country.
“I’m absolutely thrilled at the invitation from Alan Lane and his team at Slung Low to perform at The Holbeck,” says Rutter. “What goes on in there is truly inspirational and I’m delighted support this wonderful venue.”
Family business of the autumn: John Godber Company in Sunny Side Up, in The Round, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, October 28 to 31; Hull Truck Theatre, November 17 to 22
THE waiting for Godber’s new play is over. The world premiere of the ground-breaking former Hull Truck artistic director’s Sunny Side Up! will be a family affair, starring John Godber, his wife Jane Thornton and daughter Martha, with daughter Elizabeth doing the stage management.
Written and directed by Godber, the humorous and moving Sunny Side Up! depicts a struggling Yorkshire coast B&B and the people who run it. “Join proprietors Barney, Cath and Tina as they share their stories of awkward clients, snooty relatives and eggs over easy in this seaside rollercoaster that digs into what our ‘staycations’ are all about,” invites John.
Looking ahead to 2021/2022: Dance shows at the treble at York Barbican
STRICTLY Come Dancing’s glittering weekend return to BBC One was a reminder that regular professionals Anton du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Graziano di Prima, Aljaz Škorjanec and Janette Manrara are all booked to play York Barbican sometime over the rainbow, Killjoy Covid permitting.
Ballroom couple Anton & Erin’s: Showtime celebration of Astaire, Rogers, Sinatra, Garland, Chaplin, Minnelli, Bassey, Tom Jones and Elton John has moved from February 19 2021 to February 18 2022.
Aljaz and Graziano’s Here Comes The Boys show with former Strictly pro Pasha Kovalev has switched to June 30 2021; Aljaz and Janette’s Remembering The Oscars is now booked in for April 21 2021, and Giovanni’s This Is Me! is in the diary for March 17 next year.
News just in: Rob Brydon in An Evening Of Song & Laughter, York Barbican, April 14 2021
WOULD I lie to you? Actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter and holiday-advert enthusiast Rob Brydon is to play with a band in York. It’s…true!
Yes, Brydon and his eight-piece band will take to the road next year for 20 dates with his new show, Rob Brydon: A Night of Songs & Laughter, visiting York Barbican on April 14 on his second tour to combine songs and music with his trademark wit and comedy. Expect Brydon interpretations varying from fellow Welshman Tom Jones to Tom Waits, Guys And Dolls to Elvis Presley.
The 5ft 7inch Brydon last appeared at York Barbican for two nights of his improvised stand-up show, I Am Standing Up, in October 2017. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
EXIT York Mediale, the biennial festival launched in 2018. Re-enter York Mediale, recalibrated as a charity to create and deliver a year-round programme of digital arts events across the city.
What’s more, in response to the reaction to the debut programme two years ago, the international new media arts organisation will place a greater emphasis on working closely with York artists, young people and neighbourhoods.
In keeping with the wider arts industry, Covid-19 has had its killjoy impact on York Mediale 2020, although the festival retains its opening date of Wednesday, October 21.
“Prior to Covid, we were planning around 23 projects, but then the world changed,” says creative director Tom Higham. “We’ve had to re-structure our organisation and pivot how we go forward. We lost some funding and suddenly things that we had confirmed and things that were nearly over the line were off.
“We lost £70,000 straightaway, sponsor conversations were dead in the water and venues closed in the lockdown. But we did some speculating and reflecting, and we’ve managed to continue pursuing the small number of projects that would work for now.”
York Mediale 2.0 comprises six new commissions in the form of five world premieres and one UK premiere, in a festival now running from Wednesday into the New Year, whether in York neighbourhoods, online or at two cultural landmarks, York Minster and York Art Gallery.
By comparison, the first Mediale in 2018 was “the largest media arts festival in the UK”, drawing 65,000 people to cutting-edge events over ten days in celebration of York’s status as Britain’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.
Festival number one, being new, attracted the support of City of York Council, Make It York, Science City and both York universities. This time, the key funding has come from Arts Council England in a rise from £100,00 to £284,000.
“That is a vote of confidence, backing the second festival where we’ve had to create a new model to succeed in this new world,” says Tom, defining a festival that will feature artists’ installations and interactive performances, engaging audiences both in person and digitally.
“Initially, as the new kid on the block, it takes a while to build trust and make connections and to get under the skin of the city, but the projects that sought to connect with the communities, like the Inspired Youth film-making project, went very well.”
Tom continues: “The projects where we engage with parts of the city are much more honest and not forced, so this time it will be a festival focusing on how we connect with our loved ones, our community, nature and culture: themes that are prevalent and poignant in society now after months of lockdown and isolation.
“We looked closely at the works already submitted and worked to develop the pieces that would most closely examine these extraordinary times, picking out the ones that were safe to do and that people would engage with.
“All of these projects resonated with us at the start of 2020 but we could never have imagined how they could develop to so beautifully reflect our worries, hopes and relationships to our communities.”
The possibilities may have narrowed for York Mediale 2020, but that has not dampened Tom’s enthusiasm for festival number two. “The way we can do it amid the pandemic is to develop projects that are outdoors or online…not in dark places with electronic music, like last time,” he says.
“The positive spin is that maybe the dramatic shutdown that has affected the arts allows for a re-set in terms of who makes it, who it’s for and what is possible. It’s a jolt of DIY-ness that’s good for creativity. It strips the ‘bull’ out of what you’re doing and why.
“I think people are looking to build on the possibilities of Zoom to do something more creative with what is possible, and York Mediale can do that.”
Among those taking part in the festival will be Marshmallow Laser Feast, fresh from their show at the Saatchi Gallery in London; composer, musician and producer Elizabeth Bernholz, better known as Gazelle Twin, and Kit Monkman’s York arts collective, KMA, whose installations have transformed public spaces, from London’s Trafalgar Square to Shanghai’s Bund.
York Mediale 2020 audiences can discover how the human body is hardwired, synchronised and inextricably linked to nature; experiment with a new form of performance; and explore the invisible transaction between a person and a piece of art and how WhatsApp has shaped communities for the Covid generation at this year’s “diverse, digitally engaged and mentally stimulating” event.
Full details on Absent Sitters (October 21 to 25, online), Good Neighbours, in Layerthorpe, York (October 21 to 25), Human Nature’s triptych of installations at York Art Gallery (October 21 to January 24, York Art Gallery) and KMA’s People We Love, at York Minster (November 2 to 29) can be found at yorkmediale.com.
“Taking on fewer projects but with a longer shelf-life is the way forward for York Mediale, picking the right project, doing them rigorously, and then they can go on to other cities,” says Tom.
“Trying to develop projects like that is surely the longer-term vision for York Mediale, not being a receiving festival, not just inviting artists into the city, but doing something that’s in-depth, engaging with what’s already here and then taking it elsewhere too with the stamp of Made In York.
“Our responsibility as a comparatively small, new festival structurally is to find ways to push boundaries of technology and art.
“Like it has for all of us, this year has been grim, but to be able to focus on what we think we’re good at, fitting in with pushing our vision of the city, has been positive. The opportunity to be a bit more truthful with ourselves, to go where the energy and projects are in the city, to do that with artists from York that share our belief, that is progress.”
York Mediale 2020 highlights
Absent Sitters, online, October 21 to 25
GAZELLE Twin, a vital contemporary voice in the UK electronic music scene, collaborates with York artist and filmmaker Kit Monkman and Ben Eyes and Jez Wells from the University of York music department to experiment with a new form of performance in Absent Sitters.
In this intimate, shared event, you will be guided by a “performer medium” to investigate what is live performance in 2020? The audience, participating via video call, will become part of an online audio-visual experience that examines the power of “collective imagination” and the importance of “presence/absence” in a live event. “Are we live? Can we connect? Who are you?” it asks.
“The culmination of Absent Sitters will take place on London’s South Bank in Summer 2021 at the Royal Festival Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra,” reveals Tom Higham.
Good Neighbours, in Layerthorpe, York, October 21 to 25
GOOD Neighbours, from Amsterdam’s Affect Lab – interactive artist Klasien van de Zandschulp and researcher Natalie Dixon – is based on research into the micro-politics of communities and the increase in WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups through lockdown.
Individual audience members will use their own mobile devices as they immerse themselves in a weirdly familiar fictional documentary walk alongside live performance, co-ordinated by Lydia Cottrell, in the Layerthorpe area of York.
“In this time of Black Lives Matter, living under lockdown and communities delivering to the vulnerable, Good Neighbours is a long-term study of how communities work,” says Tom. “It’s gone from village halls and pubs to WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups.”
Human Nature, at York Art Gallery, October 21 to January 24 2021
THIS triptych of installations under the banner of Human Nature is jointly curated by York Mediale and York Museums Trust, uniting for an ambitious show at York Art Gallery as a centrepiece of York Mediale 2020.
Embers And The Giants, a short film by Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson, makes its UK premiere, exploring human intervention through thousands of tiny drones mimicking a natural spectacle, suggesting a time when we will need to amplify nature in order to convince the public of its worth.
The Tides Within Us is a new commission from immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast that looks at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echo the ecosystem within nature.
Fine artist Rachel Goodyear continues her exploration of animation-based work with Limina, a series of animations supported by her intricate drawings, each responding to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection; all offering a glimpse into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.
People We Love, at York Minster, November 2 to 29
THIS new commission from Kit Monkman’s York creative collective KMA will be positioned in the York Minster Nave, where a new temporary “congregation” will be made up of a collection of five large high-definition screens, showing video portraits focused on people that have been filmed looking at a photograph of someone they love.
The viewer will not know who is being looked at but will experience the emotion on the face projected on screen before them, interpreting each unspoken story in People We Love.
Visitors can add their story to the installation as a pop-up booth will be on-site, ready to capture the love stories of the city without the need for words.
“People We Love is a passion project for Kit that he’s been talking about for ten years,” says Tom. “It’s a love letter to the citizens of York by the best media artist in the city. It’s for the people of York, by the people of York, but I think it’s a project that will continue to travel the world after York.
“I’ve been talking to Kit since 2016 about the seeds of what he’d like to do next, as KMA had not done a project for a few years and this was the one he wanted to do and then take to the world.”
CINEWORLD, York, and City Screen, York are both closed temporarily until further notice after the new James Bond film, No Time To Die, was put back in cold storage until next April, a full year after its original planned release date.
However, despite the rising second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, Charles Hutchinson continues to track and trace signs of artistic life, drive-in events and home entertainment.
Exhibition of the week outside York: Flourish, Woodend Gallery, Scarborough, until January 31 2021
RUN by Huddersfield’s West Yorkshire Print Workshop, Flourish brings together prints made by 13 nationwide artists shortlisted for this year’s Flourish Award.
Those artists are: Paulette Bansal; Suzanne Bethell; Louisa Boyd; Tony Carlton; Louise Garman; Pam Grimmond, from Markington, near Harrogate; Ian Irvine; Nick Loaring; Lucie MacGregor; Flora McLachlan; Lucy May Schofield; Claire Willberg and Susan Wright.
Online folk concert of the week: Chris While and Julie Matthews, Black Swan Folk Club, York, October 15, 7.30pm
BLACK Swan favourites Chris While and Julie Matthews will be playing this online concert exclusively for the York folk club and will conclude the night with a live question-and-answer session.
Tickets are on sale at: whileandmatthews.com/virtual-tour. “Once you’ve purchased a ticket, you’ll be able to watch the streamed performance whenever you want,” says organiser Chris Euesden. “Chris and Julie have been guests at the club and played for us in concert at the NCEM many times over the years and it’s always been a great evening.”
Folk-fused baroque’n’roll virtual gig of the week ahead: Joshua Burnell & Frances Sladen, Live In Your Living Room, October 17, 7.30pm
THE future of folk, alias York multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Joshua Burnell, will be joined by his partner, vocalist Frances Sladen, for a one-off online concert hosted by the East Riding Theatre, Beverley.
“We’ll be playing acoustic versions of songs old and new,” says Joshua, who released his futuristic new album, Flowers Where The Horses Sleep, last month.
What can viewers expect when they head to ERT’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/365072138001228/ for the free concert? “I’m still figuring out exactly how it’ll work!” says Joshua, winner of the Rising Star award in the 2020 Folking Awards. “But we’ll definitely be sharing tales that influenced the songs, as well as reflections on how the lockdown affected our musical process.”
In search of a thriller this autumn? Head to Bloodshot, in The Round, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, October 21 to 24, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
SIMON Slater, the Scarborough-born actor and composer with West End credits galore to his name, returns home to perform Bloodshot, Douglas Post’s one-man thriller.
In a story of vaudeville, murder, magic and jazz set in London in 1957, Derek Eveleigh is a skilled photographer but very down on his luck.
A mysterious envelope arrives from a stranger, asking him to take secret pictures of an elegant young woman as she walks in Holland Park. The reward is handsome, but the irresistible assignment takes a sudden, shocking turn. Entangled and compelled to understand, Derek is led into a seedy Soho nightlife populated by dubious characters.
Drive-in fireworks event on Guy Fawkes Night: Autumn Lights, Elvington Airfield, near York, November 5, 5pm to 8.30pm
ELVINGTON Airfield will be the setting for Autumn Lights’ spectacle of light on Guy Fawkes Night in a drive-in event billed as “York’s biggest fireworks extravaganza”.
Look out for a hot air balloon nightglow (albeit with the balloon inflation dependant on the weather), fire shows and street food at this Covid-secure evening with car parking and space to get out and enjoy the show. Find out more at Facebook.com/autmunlightsuk and Instagram @autumnlightsuk.
Rearranged concert of the month ahead: Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, National Centre for Early Music, York, November 17, 6pm and 8.30pm
KATHRYN Roberts and Sean Lakeman, partners in life and music, had to postpone their April 22 show at the NCEM. Now, instead, they will play not one, but two, hour-long shows, each featuring the same set list, as they mark 25 years of making folk music together.
To celebrate this milestone, the couple will revisit and reinterpret songs from the early days of folk supergroup Equation through to 2020’s album, On Reflection, with a nod or two along the way to their extracurricular musical adventures, in a whistle-stop tour through their artistic journey to date.
Limited seating will be available, each household/support bubble up to four people to be seated around small tables positioned at a two-metre social distance from others. Tickets go on sale tomorrow (October 9) at be on sale at email@example.com.
Looking ahead to next summer: RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq The World, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, June 20 2021
COMBINING music, comedy, sassiness and lavish set-pieces to “create the biggest, brashest, most utterly glorious party night of the year”, the fourth UK and European RuPaul Drag Race tour show will see “an experiment gone wrong that sends Drag Race judge and 2019 Strictly Come Dancing contestant Michelle Visage spiralling through time with no way of returning home”.
Newly crowned Season 12 Drag Race winner Jaida Essence Hall, Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Plastique Tiara, Vanessa Vanjie and Yvie Oddly will be joined by stars from the latest latest USA, UK and Canadian seasons to “journey through iconic periods of history in the hope they will find their way back to the present day”.
Tickets for the only RuPaul’s Drag Race British outdoor show next summer, plus Olly Murs on July 10 and Nile Rodgers & Chic on August 20, are on sale via scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
And what about?
Taking an autumn break in Norwich, Norfolk and on the Suffolk coast.
“VERY flat, Norfolk,” opined Noel Coward in Private Lives.
Seeking rather more than flatness, CharlesHutchPress will be on vacation Broadly speaking for a week.
Hopefully, the arts world will have been delivered world-beating, but delayed Cultural Recovery Fund grants by then. Over to you, Mr Dowden, before it is too late and the world of live theatre, music and comedy is flatlining.
HURRY, hurry, to the City Screen café bar to see York photographer Matt Bowden’s exhibition The Natural Landscape of Yorkshire.
The Coney Street cinema, in York, will be closed after Thursday’s screenings following Cineworld’s decision to shut all its cinemas temporarily until further notice as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on the entertainment world.
This sudden shutdown follows the wounding blow to the cinema industry of the release of the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, being postponed for a second time, put back from November 12 to next April.
City Screen, in Coney Street, is part of the Picturehouse Cinemas Group now owned by Cineworld.
Consequently, Bowden’s debut York show will be curtailed only eight days after opening last Wednesday, although he hopes the exhibition will be given the green light to resume once City Screen reopens.
Such a reopening is not expected until after Christmas at the earliest, according to City Screen general manager Tony Clarke.
Hence the urgency to view the photography of Matt Bowden, 43, a location manager for film and television productions by profession.
“Photography has played a huge part in my 18-year career as a location manager, working on such titles as Phantom Thread, The Secret Garden and The Duke,” he says.
Born and bred in York, Bowden developed his love of nature when bird-watching with his grandfather, Eric Markham, as a child.
“My primary passion has long been the natural world, photographing the wealth of landscapes and wildlife that my home county of Yorkshire has to offer,” says Matt.
“The tranquillity, isolation and mental clarity this provides offers a perfect remedy for the chaotic and often intense lifestyle most of us find ourselves engulfed in.”
Matt’s photographic challenge is a dual one: “Not only does it require all the hours spent hidden in bushes and hides studying a natural subject, but more so you must successfully create an image that proves to be both unique and artistically expressive,” he says.
“I consider the environment in which the subject resides to play as important a role as the subject itself when forming a composition.”
God’s Own Country duly plays a prominent role in Bowden’s photographic work. “Yorkshire has such a diverse and rich tapestry of nature and landscapes that I feel fortunate to be able to call it home,” he says.
Contemplating the stultifying impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, he says: “It’s just such a shame City Screen is closing for the foreseeable future. The film industry is in a bad shape, and the film I was meant to be working on from this autumn has been pushed into Spring/Summer 2021.”
BORIS Johnson put on his serious face and hands act on Tuesday night to address the nation on the ins and outs of his Government’s latest Covid-clampdown measures: a stitch in time saves nine, Rules of Six, 10pm curfews and any number of other numbers that invariably add up to confusion.
However, Covid-secure, socially distanced theatre shows, exhibitions, cinema, comedy and concerts can continue, as well as home entertainment, of course.
Here, Charles Hutchinson tracks and traces signs of artistic life…with immediate results
Joint project of the week: Fields And Lanes Under A Willow Tree, Timeless Songs and Poems by Jessa and Mick Liversidge, outside Easingwold Community Library, Sunday, 2pm
INSPIRED by the “wonderful reaction” to the online streaming of their outdoor poetry and song performances in lockdown, creative Easingwold couple Jessa and Mick Liversidge present an hour of uplifting words and music in the open air this weekend.
The show will be Covid-safe and socially distanced; tickets are free, with a pay-as- you-feel collection afterwards, but must be acquired in advance on 07526 107448 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three is a magic number: Three Men In A Boat, Kick In The Head Productions, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 2.30pm
GILES Shenton takes the helm for 95 minutes in Kick In The Head’s one-man/Three Men show, a “rip-roaring barrel of fun” wherein he plays writer Jerome K Jerome and everyone besides in a delightfully ridiculous tale of men behaving badly while messing about on boats.
Shenton invites you to “join Jerome as he recounts the hilarious story of his boating holiday along the magnificent River Thames with his two companions, George and Harris, and Montmorency the dog”.
Living room laughs: Your Place Comedy: Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi, Sunday, online at 8pm
IN the fifth of six Your Place Comedy shows live-streamed from their living rooms into yours since lockdown, Justin Moorhouse and Shappi Khorsandi form the digital double bill introduced remotely by compere Tim FitzHigham.
The virtual comedy project has been organised by Selby Town Hall manager Chris Jones in liaison with nine other independent North and East Yorkshire arts centres and theatres, with donations welcome after each free screening to be divided between the still-closed venues. You can watch on YouTube and Twitch with more details at yourplacecomedy.co.uk.
Exhibition launch of the week: Debbie Lush, Featured Artist, Blue Tree Gallery, Bootham, York, and online at bluetreegallery.co.uk, Saturday to November 7
TEN new works by Devon landscape artist Debbie Lush go on show at Blue Tree Gallery from this weekend.
The former freelance illustrator, who ran a Somerset country inn for 13 years, draws inspiration for her vividly coloured coastal and rural landscapes from her walks with her dog along weather-beaten coastal paths, across muddy footpaths, through gateways and over fields and farmland.
“I love the act of brushing blobs of paints of varying thickness in bright colours on a surface, one over another, to assemble landscapes,” she says.
Antidote to isolation: Uninvited Guests’ Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, and on Zoom on October 1, 2.30pm and 7.30pm
THEATRE company Uninvited Guests will construct a “completely digital, wholly personal and wonderfully live experience” at the SJT and on Zoom in “very different” afternoon and evening shows.
Performed by Jessica Hoffman and Richard Dufty, Love Letters Straight From Your Heart invites the audience’s words, song dedications and stories – sent in earlier – to the stage where they are given a new shape, look you straight in the eye and offer to dance with everyone in the room.
Only 45 tickets will be sold for each show to maintain intimacy, but any number of audience members can sit at screens to watch what unfolds in 60 to 75 minutes.
Latest Christmas show to be confirmed: Riding Lights Theatre Company in The Selfish Giant, storytelling theatre on film online, for primary schools
YORK company Riding Lights say, “We can’t come to you, but we can still bring exciting entertainment into every classroom with our online version of The Selfish Giant.
“The Giant is angry. He’s been away for a long time and returns to find children playing in his beautiful garden!
Every day after school, they come and run about, laughing and playing games under the blossom on his peach trees, listening to the delightful songs of the birds. So, he puts up a big wall and an even bigger Keep Out notice to put a stop to all that. Then winter seizes the garden in its icy fingers.”
Riding Lights ask primary school to book the online show via: https://ridinglights.org/the-selfish-giant-no/costs-and-booking/.
Looking ahead to Irish gigs at the double: Clannad, York Barbican, March 10 2021 and Daniel O’Donnell, York Barbican, October 21 2021
CLANNAD are booked in to play York Barbican on March 10 on their Farewell Tour, but let’s see where Boris Johnson’s new Rule of Six Months’ More Misery leaves that show. Fingers crossed, we can wave goodbye to social distancing by then to enable bidding adieu to the ethereal purveyors of traditional Irish music, contemporary folk, new age and rock, led by Moya Brennan.
Meanwhile, tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow (Friday) at yorkbarbican.co.uk for Kincasslagh crooner Daniel O’Donnell’s return to the Barbican on October 21.
And what about…?
A visit to Duncan Lomax’s new photographic exhibition space, Holgate Gallery, opening officially from tomorrow in Holgate Road, York, to show work by the 2016 York Mystery Plays official photographer and political satirist Cold War Steve.
The York Printmakers Virtual Print Fair, running until October 4, with daily updates at https://www.facebook.com/YorkPrintmakers/
“Finding myself in a similar position, and limited to what was already in the house, I’ve been creating plays from whatever items I had lying around: often props and materials left over from old performances.”
Offering guidance, Strasz says: “You might have your own hobby or craft that provides inspiration. The main thing is to draw on what you already have, so that your play is personal to you and your home.
“This will then build up to a screening of the plays in the autumn next year, perhaps at a York venue, perhaps online.”
Anyone interested in taking on one of the plays is asked to e-mail Strasz at: Thomas.Straszewski@york.ac.uk. “If you have a particular play in mind, then include that, and any initial thoughts and ideas,” he advises.
“I’ll be running this in batches of five plays every month or so. If there’s a play later in the schedule you’re particularly interested in creating, let me know now and I’ll be in touch when we reach it – no commitment required.”
FROM this evening, additionally Strasz will be hosting a weekly read-through of the Mystery Plays every Tuesday on Zoom from 7.30pm to 9pm.
“These evenings are an opportunity to read each play out loud and discuss them with fellow friends of the York Mystery Plays,” he says.
“The ideas and connections made will hopefully lead to a full production of the Mystery Plays in the future, with these read-throughs as one way to form the performance right from the start.”
Strasz’s read-throughs will work through the 48 mediaeval plays in order. “We’ll be starting with The Creation Of The Heavens and The Fall Of Lucifer and we should be reaching The Nativity in December,” he says.
“As an informal group, you can drop in and out each week, depending on how often you’d like to attend.”
The Zoom details can be acquired by e-mailing Strasz at: email@example.com. Scripts will be available via the YorkMysteries@Home website, under the Resources page.
Here Charles Hutchinson puts questions to Tom Straszewski on his DIY community project, York Mysteries @ Home.
Which plays have you done?
“So far, I’ve performed the first seven plays, and five are available online to date, from The Creation Of The Heavens to Cain And Abel. As winter closes in, I’ll hopefully reach The Nativity and make it to The Last Supper in time for Easter.”
What is the most unusual prop you have used?
“I don’t know about unusual, but I’ve enjoyed the matchsticks for Lucifer. Originally matches were made with sulphur and called ‘lucifers’ – light-bringers – which is the sort of bad pun I relish.
“I’ve got my eye on my son’s toy watering can for The Flood and lots of old props and costumes from my past plays will appear. It’s like seeing familiar actors in plays; I always enjoy spotting old props and costumes being reused.”
How have you filmed the Plays? On your phone or with a camera?
“All on my phone – you don’t need anything fancy. And it’s theatre, not film, playing in the moment, not editing the best shots together.
“Having said that, the first one I did was disastrous! I dropped the phone halfway through, just as I ate my last prop – a strawberry from the garden – so I did edit that one a bit. I’ve switched to using a tripod to avoid a repeat.”
What skills might you like Mystery Play home-play creators to display in the Plays they do?
“It could be anything: I’ve had suggestions of baking for The Last Supper and wood-working for The Crucifixion, which is fitting. If anybody out there paints stained glass, I’d love to see their take on any of the Plays with angels.
“But it could be as simple as finger-painting, sock puppets or Lego. The main thing is to find out how to tell these amazing stories in your own home with what’s available to you. Be bold and imaginative. And be willing to be surprised at how your idea of your home changes.”
Do you have anywhere in mind for showing the Mystery Plays films in York?
“Further lockdown permitting, it would be wonderful to hold it in somewhere linked to the Plays, one of the guild halls, perhaps, or in Museum Gardens. I’ll be looking for some collaborators to help put this on, assuming we’re allowed out of the house again by then. If not, we’ll hold a socially distanced celebration of everybody’s work online instead.”
Are the Plays being done in a particular order or in thematic clusters?
“I’m dependent on who volunteers to take on each play, but I’m hoping to work through them roughly in linear order, starting with The Creation and finishing with The Last Judgement. But if anybody has a burning need to do one of the later plays right now, there’s no need to wait.”
Is there previous history of the York Mystery Plays being performed in homes?
“Yes. It was wonderful to hear York Theatre Royal take on the plays as radio drama, recorded remotely in each actor’s own home during lockdown [for broadcast on Jonathan Cowap’s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio York]. But I missed the visuals!
“I was talking to a group of previous actors in the Plays and they all said the sense of spectacle was essential to the Mystery Plays. So, this project hopefully brings that back, on a tiny scale.
“And the medieval guilds who put on the plays often had their workshops in their homes, open to the public. So, making the plays at home draws on that sense of craftwork as a performance.”
Why are you so drawn to the Mystery Plays: what makes them resonate with you?
“Within the Plays themselves, it’s the marriage of the epic sweep with intimate moments: one minute creating the whole world, the next moment seeing Adam and Eve arguing over who should take the blame for messing up.
“On that domestic scale, the story of Mary takes her from a teenager in an impossible situation, to mourning her son, to acting as a matriarch for a whole host of disciples. I’d love to really focus on her story one day.
“And that gives a sense of how endless the possibilities are. In 2018 alone, for the Waggon Plays that summer, people based their Mystery Plays on children’s pop-up books, Russian art, street graffiti, Greek choruses, medieval tapestries, modern atrocities, climate change, to mention just a few. Shakespeare is probably the only other drama that sees that breadth of staging possibilities.
“The other thing that always stands out for me are the moments outside the Plays themselves – seeing somebody conquer their shyness, or find a new talent, or make new friends backstage. And they bring people together all across York.
“At a time when people are struggling to keep a sense of community at a distance, I think there’s a real need for the Mysteries – and for York’s community theatre more generally.”
NEARLY 2,000 people had that “getaway feeling”, heading out to the AA Getaway Drive-In Cinema, parked up at Elvington Airfield, near York, last weekend.
In “Vol. 1” of the AA’s new cinematic entertainment venture, afternoon and evening screenings took place from Friday to Sunday, Saturday reserved for AA members, the other two days open to the public, with a maximum of five people per car.
The other York drive-in experience available/not available/go to Aberdeen right now is for Covid-19 Testing at Poppleton Park and Ride, and driving past the ever-evocative Air Museum aircraft onto the airfield expanse for Saturday night’s show, there seemed to be even more staff on hand to guide you through a winding course of tyres, in familiar AA livery of gaudy yellow. Even an official photographer was there to snap every car and smiling incumbent.
All on duty were wearing face masks; enthusiastic, helpful, loving that feeling of being out in the open air, like Tukker the dog with the fan and record deck in the new AA advert that would inevitably play its part in the promotional side of this drive-in Saturday experience.
Name checked, you were handed sanitised remote speakers for your listening pleasure and informed how you could order food and drink – “locally sourced “ – from that device to be brought contact-free to your car.
A number was placed on each driver’s wing mirror to facilitate those deliveries, once you had been guided into your car’s socially distanced spot by hand signals more associated with guiding an aeroplane across the Heathrow tarmac. Apt for an airfield, of course!
The first York drive-in of the summer, Daisy Duke’s on Knavesmire from July 31 to August 2, had favoured a combination of musical big hitters, Grease, Rocketman, Mamma Mia! and A Star Is Born, family hits, Toy Story and Shrek 2, and something darker for night-time, 28 Days Later, Pulp Fiction and Joker.
AA Getaway’s triptych of escapist films felt the need for speed, thrills and action, suitable both for the location and the AA’s association with travel and driving. Hence the choice of James Gunn’s 2014 space chase, Guardians Of The Galaxy (12A), Edgar Wright’s 2017 getaway-car heist thriller, Baby Driver (15), and James Mangold’s 2019 Ford v Ferrari race-track clash, Le Mans ’66 (12), Saturday’s evening pick for AA members.
Many moons ago, but never to be forgotten, a hapless drive-in showcase in a Clifton Moor car park had combined a blow-up screen that blew over in the howling wind, incongruous ice creams on an absurdly cold and wet early summer’s night, and a much-delayed screening of Grease – Summer Lovin’ didn’t happen so fast, alas – after the forlorn screen had to be deflated and slowly, very slowly, re-inflated.
“Never again” was the vow in the wake of that tragic-comic affirmation that drive-ins were meant for open-topped American cars on balmy American nights with the junkiest of American junk food, not for an anonymous Yorkshire tarmac strip off a bypass.
Until…Saturday night at the movies at Elvington Airfield and AA Getaway’s slick, ultra-efficient, state-of-the-drive-in cinema, where the sound systems were as clear as the staff instructions, the three giant LED screens were pin-sharp and everything ran to time.
Le Mans ’66 was a cracking selection: Ford versus Ferrari, American ruthlessness versus more stylish Italian ruthlessness on and off the track for the 1966 24-hour Le Mans race in a buddy vehicle for Matt Damon and Christian Bale.
Ultimately, under Mangold’s heart-pumping direction, it turned into a hymn to the uncompromising, temperamental but brilliant engineer and driver Ken Miles, the Motorsports Hall Of Fame of America inductee from Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, whose deeds overseas deserve to be known by more than petrol heads.
Aided by Bale’s bravura performance, there was so much mileage in Miles’s story, hopefully, if belatedly, the Brummie race ace will have his place among the pantheon of British sporting greats.
Will Harrison, AA’s head of brand marketing, said after the weekend: “We launched AA Getaway to offer audiences some true escapism and we’re absolutely delighted with the response. For many, it was their very first drive-in experience and we hope they were able to sit back, relax and smile – all from the comfort of their car.”
Roll on Vol 2: The Drive-In for these days when the car, a kind of home from home, looks a safe option for Covid-secure, socially distanced entertainment.
HERE’S Johnny! Scarborough’s Stephen Joseph Theatre will present Fright Fest By The Sea, a week of scary movies with “terror levels suitable for all the family” as part of its October film programme.
Anglo-German director Wolf Rilla’s 1960 sci-fi horror movie Village Of The Damned – “Beware the stare that will paralyze the will of the world!”, the poster warns – will be shown on October 23 at 2pm and October 24 at 7pm.
An American Werewolf In London, John Landis’s 1981sci-fi horror comedy advert for Yorkshire’s infamous brand of hospitality for outsiders, is booked in for October 23, 7pm, October 27, 7pm, and October 28, 2pm.
Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan’s 2019 computer-animated black comedy version of The Addams Family will run on October 24, 2pm October 27, 2pm, October 28, 7pm, October 29, 2pm, and October 30, 2pm.
Gerald Thomas’s 1966 British comedy Carry On Screaming, the 12th of 31 Carry On capers, stars Fenella Fielding, Kenneth Williams and Harry H Corbett as a private detective in his only appearance in the series, on October 29 at 7pm and October 31 at 2pm.
Ah, here’s Johnny! Jack Nicholson ad-libbed that “Here’s Johnny” moment, echoing announcer Ed McMahon’s introduction of Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, in The Shining, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psychological horror film. Enjoy it again on October 30 and 31 at 7pm.
The October programme of films and streamings in The McCarthy will open with Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes (Captured Live), his Olivier Award-winning dance-drama adaptation of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 film.
This tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world will be shown on October 1, 2pm, October 2, 7pm, and October 3 and 4, 2pm.
October 1’s 7pm screening of Parasite offers the chance to judge why Bong Joon-ho’s black-and-white South Korean dark comedy thriller became the first non-English language film to win the Oscar for Best Picture in February.
Hats off, masks on, for John-Paul Davidson and Stephen Warbeck’s new British comedy, The Man In The Hat, showing on October 2, 2pm, October 3, 7pm, October 6 and 7, 7pm, and October 8, 2pm.
The titular man in the hat (Ciaran Hinds) journeys through France in a Fiat 500, accompanied by a framed photograph of an unknown woman. In pursuit are five angry men in a Citroën Dyane, but why are they chasing him and how can he shake them off?
Thirty years ago, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo made their historic debut as The Three Tenors. On October 8 at 7pm and October 10 at 2pm, Three Tenors: Voices For Eternity (Event Cinema) celebrates the emotional highlights of the first concert and the sequel in Los Angeles, with new interviews and never-before-seen backstage footage.
A global audience of 1.6 billion people watched that ground-breaking debut concert, one that catapulted classical music into a new dimension, spawning the best-selling classical album of all time.
A second new British film, 23 Walks, Paul Morrison’s gentle, sweet, funny, romantic story of love in later life, will have screenings on October 9 at 2pm and 7pm, October 10, 13 and 14, 7pm, and October 15, 2pm.
Alison Steadman and Dave Johns play Fern and Dave, who meet when walking their dogs in a North London park. Over the course of 23 walks together, romance begins to blossom but the two also hide secrets that could derail their new-found love.
Completing a trilogy of new British film releases, Sally Hawkins, David Thewlis, Billie Piper and Penelope Wilton star in Eternal Beauty on October 16 at 2pm and 7pm, October 17 at 2pm, October 20 at 7pm and October 22 at 2pm and 7pm.
Hawkins, who made her professional stage debut as Juliet in Romeo And Juliet at York Theatre Royal, plays Jane, a fragile but irrepressible woman who hears voices and has paranoid episodes.
The film’s director, actor turned writer-director Craig Roberts, appeared alongside Hawkins in the independent hit film Submarine, by the way.
Michael Ball and Alfie Boe – Back Together (Captured Live) gives cinema audiences the chance to enjoy the final show of their sold-out tour on screen on October 17 at 7pm and October 18 at 2pm.
The SJT has been awarded the VisitEngland We’re Good To Go industry standard mark, signifying its adherence to Government and public health guidance by introducing comprehensive measures for the safety and comfort of cinema patrons, such as limited capacities and aisle access for every pair of seats booked. Find out more at: https://www.sjt.uk.com/were_back
Cinema tickets at the SJT for films cost £7 (concessions £6; Circle members/NHS/under-30s £5); for Event Cinema, including Captured Live, £12; for live streamings, £17.
To book, go to sjt.uk.com/whatson or call the box office on 01723 370541 (open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 11am to 4pm, for both phone calls and in-person bookings).